Scott STEWART MP
Member for Townsville
26 April 2017
MP SUBMISSION CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION ON WATER
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart has called for funding commitments from all levels of Government to push forward with construction of a new pipeline to the Burdekin Dam.
In a submission to the intergovernmental Water Taskforce, Mr Stewart said after four consecutive failed wet seasons, Townsville’s water security had all but evaporated.
“A secure and affordable water supply is absolutely vital for Townsville’s economic future and urgent action is needed,” Mr Stewart said.
“We are facing the prospect of long-term level 3 water restrictions and possible elevation to level 4.
“These limitations are holding back Townsville’s growth and economic advancement at a time when the city is already struggling with high unemployment and investor confidence,” he said.
Mr Stewart said the Taskforce would determine the best pipeline solution – either the Haughton Pipeline Duplication or possibly a new gravity fed pipeline from a raised Burdekin Dam wall – but all sides of politics and government needed to commit to a funding solution.
“Over the past decade close to $7 billion has been spent in south-east Queensland interconnecting and upgrading regional dams, building water recycling plants and a desalination plant.
“I am confident the price tag for securing water for Townsville will be modest in comparison but the benefits will be widespread.
“It will not only secure our urban water supply for residents, but it will also support new and existing industry, including the region’s farmers, boosting local job opportunities.
“It will help maintain the city’s world-class green spaces that were central to attracting population away from the clogged South East and southern states.”
Mr Stewart said his submission also called for action to ensure any solution did not cost ratepayers more than they could afford.
“We know the big issues is the cost of electricity needed to run the Burdekin Dam pump station, which is $27,000 a day or close to $10 million a year- a huge financial burden for access to what is an essential resource,” he said.
“Electricity must be discounted to wholesale levels during times of crisis such as drought and critical water shortages,” he said.
“Sunwater and the State Government have provide relief for Townsville residents but it needs to go further. It is not the fault of residents that it hasn’t rained.
The State Government already discounts supply costs for drought declared farms to enable farmers to pump water to irrigate crops and pasture. I think this measure could be extended to local councils under prescribed conditions.”
Please click HERE to read the full submission.